Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Critical Thinking & COVID-19 XI: Fallacies of Generalization

In the last essay we looked at the inductive generalization and its usefulness in reasoning about certain aspects of the pandemic. As with all reasoning, one must be careful to avoid mistakes in logic—what philosophers call fallacies. Three fallacies often arise from efforts to generalize. These are the hasty generalization, appeal to anecdotal evidence, and [More]

Boris Giltburg plays Beethoven’s Pathétique

As well as streaming lunchtime performances from his home (see his Facebook page), Boris Giltburg is still occasionally releasing filmed performances from his ongoing project to play all 32 sonatas in Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year. The latest is this terrific … Continue reading → The post Boris Giltburg plays Beethoven’s Pathétique appeared first on Logic [More]

A.J. Ayer and Logical Positivism

Alfred Jules Ayer (1910-89) was a philosopher and a leading English representative of Logical Positivism. He was responsible for introducing the doctrines of the movement as developed in the 1920s and 1930s by the Vienna Circle group of philosophers and scientists into British philosophy. Ayer’s philosophy was also influenced by empiricism of David Hume and the […] The post A.J. Ayer and Logical Positivism appeared first on OUPblog.         Related StoriesG.E.M. Anscombe on the evil of demanding unconditional surrender in warSpelling reform: not a “lafing” matterWho is Dr. Doddipol? Or, idioms in your back [More]

Ethics and Chronic Illness

2020.04.18 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Tom Walker, Ethics and Chronic Illness, Routledge, 2019, 242pp., $155.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780367210205. Reviewed by Rebecca Chan and Jordan Liz, San José State University Unlike other medical conditions, chronic illness is not curable. Successful treatment aims to either prevent future complications arising from one's condition and/or help the patient manage it. The goal is to enable the patient to live as comfortably as possible with her condition. For Tom Walker, these distinctive features of chronic illness mean that questions regarding what it means to benefit the patient, or what the role of prevention in clinical ethics will be, are importantly different from cases of acute conditions. Yet, despite this, ethical reflection on chronic illnesses has been largely omitted within the field of medical ethics. In his book, Walker sets out to fill this gap in the literature. The first five chapters are dedicated to gaining... Read [More]

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

[New Entry by Vincent C. Müller on April 30, 2020.] Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are digital technologies that will have significant impact on the development of humanity in the near future. They have raised fundamental questions about what we should do with these systems, what the systems themselves should do, what risks they involve, and how we can control these. After the Introduction to the field (s1), the main themes (s2) of [More]

The most accurate model-based prediction of all times

The "base case" scenario from the 1972 edition of "The Limits to Growth." This scenario described the trajectory of the world's economy on the basis of the data and assumptions that were judged to be the most reliable ones. This run might turn out to have been amazingly accurate some fifty years after it was proposed.One of the most remarkable features of the story of the "Limits to Growth" study of 1972 is how effectively it was possible to convince almost everyone that it was completely wrong. Amazingly, though, the most vituperated model-based prediction in history may turn out to have been perhaps the most accurate one. Note how the scenario above, the "base case" scenario, saw the start of the decline around 2010 and the start of the collapse maybe a decade afterward, that is now. If the oil collapse generated by the coronavirus takes the whole economy with it, as it may well happen, then this scenario turns out to have been unbelievably accurate. And that for a prediction made 50 years ago. Truly amazing!Now, of course, this story has to be taken with some caution, predictions can be right even by mere chance. But, in this case, there is a certain logic in this result: the base case scenario had been already noted by Graham Turner to have been following the real-world data. But that was true for the growth side of the diagram: even standard economic models had been predicting economic growth. The crucial test for the model was to be the sharp change in slope expected [More]